How to Make Homemade Air Freshener With Vinegar

Vinegar is an effective and natural ingredient that can be used to make homemade air fresheners. Vinegar helps absorb and neutralize odors rather than simply masking them. Making your own air freshener with vinegar is easy, inexpensive, and safe. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to make homemade air freshener with vinegar.

Why Use Vinegar for Homemade Air Freshener

There are several benefits to using vinegar for homemade air fresheners:

  • Natural and non-toxic: Vinegar is all-natural and does not contain any harsh or toxic chemicals. It will not release unhealthy fumes or vapors into your home.
  • Neutralizes odors: Vinegar helps neutralize odors rather than just masking them. The acetic acid in vinegar interacts with the compounds that cause bad smells, removing them from the air.
  • Absorbs moisture: Vinegar absorbs excess moisture from the air, which helps prevent mold and mildew growth.
  • Antibacterial properties: Vinegar is a mild antibacterial agent and can help disinfect the air and surfaces in your home.
  • Affordable and versatile: Distilled white vinegar is inexpensive and readily available. It can be used in many different types of air freshener recipes.
  • Customizable scents: Vinegar on its own has a mild scent. You can add your favorite essential oils to create customized air freshening mixes.

Using vinegar is a smart way to save money, avoid chemicals, and keep your home’s air fresh and clean.

Supplies Needed

Making homemade air freshener with vinegar is very easy to do with just a few basic supplies:

  • Distilled white vinegar: This is the base of the air freshener. You can find it in any grocery store for just a couple dollars.
  • Essential oils (optional): Add a few drops of scented oils like lemon, lavender or eucalyptus to provide fragrance.
  • Spray bottle: Choose a reusable spray bottle to dispense your air freshener easily.
  • Funnel (optional): Useful for transferring the liquid into the spray bottle without spills.
  • Filtered or distilled water: Use clean water if diluting the vinegar.
  • Containers with lids (optional): For gel or solid fresheners, you’ll need jars, tins or bags.

That’s it! With just a few simple and affordable ingredients, you can make your own customized air fresheners.

Basic Vinegar Spray Air Freshener

This easy homemade spray freshener only requires two ingredients. It’s a great basic recipe to start with:


  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 5-10 drops essential oil (optional for scent)


  1. Pour the vinegar and water into the spray bottle.
  2. Add several drops of your favorite essential oil if you want a scented freshener.
  3. Screw on the spray top and give the bottle a good shake to mix the ingredients.
  4. To use, simply mist several sprays into the air whenever you want to refresh the scent.
  5. Shake well before each use to combine the ingredients again.

This simple freshener can be sprayed in rooms throughout your home to neutralize odors and provide a light, clean fragrance if you added essential oils. It’s safe to use around pets and children too.

Stronger Vinegar-Based Spray Fresheners

For a more potent air freshening effect, you can make spray bottles with higher concentrations of vinegar. Here are some recipes to try:

Full Strength Vinegar Spray

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 5-10 drops essential oil (optional)

Follow the same instructions, using full strength vinegar without diluting it with water. Be sure to shake well before each use. The higher acidity works quickly to absorb odors. Start with a few sprays and increase as needed.

Double Strength Vinegar Spray

  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 5-10 drops essential oil (optional)

Use a 2:1 vinegar to water ratio for an extra strong freshening mist. The robust vinegar scent cuts through tough odors.

Apple Cider Vinegar Spray

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 5-10 drops essential oil (optional)

Apple cider vinegar has a pleasant smell on its own. The apple scent pairs nicely with oils like cinnamon or clove. Follow the same directions to mix and use.

Vinegar Gel Air Fresheners

Gel air fresheners provide long-lasting fragrance. The vinegar absorbs and neutralizes odors as the gel slowly evaporates over time. Here are two easy gel freshener recipes:

Basic Vinegar Gel Freshener


  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons hair gel or aloe vera gel
  • 5 drops essential oil (for scent)


  1. Mix the vinegar into the gel until well blended.
  2. Add the essential oils and stir in thoroughly.
  3. Pour the gel mixture into a small jar or tin and leave open to allow the scent to fill the air.

Fruity Vinegar Gel


  • 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 packet unsweetened drink mix (like Crystal Light)
  • 3 tablespoons hair gel or aloe vera gel


  1. Stir the drink mix into the vinegar until it dissolves completely.
  2. Mix in the gel until fully combined.
  3. Spoon into a container, leaving the lid off so the scent can escape.

The fruity drink mix provides a pleasant aroma. Try different flavors to create customized scents.

Solid Vinegar Air Fresheners

You can also make homemade solid air fresheners using vinegar and baking soda or clay. These provide long-lasting odor neutralizing power:

Baking Soda Freshener


  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 10 drops essential oil
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar


  1. Place the baking soda in a small jar or other sealable container. Add the essential oil and mix well.
  2. Drizzle the vinegar over the baking soda mixture. Quickly seal the container.
  3. The vinegar will react with the baking soda, releasing a fizzing scent. Allow the mixture to solidify then open to freshen the air.

Clay Air Freshener


  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 10 drops essential oil


  1. Mix the baking soda and cornstarch together. Add the vinegar, water and essential oil. Stir to form a firm dough.
  2. Knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth.
  3. Press the dough into a jar or tin and allow to dry out uncovered for 1-2 days before using.

As the clay slowly dries, the vinegar smell will be released to eliminate odors.

Tips for Using Vinegar Air Freshener

Here are some useful tips for using your homemade vinegar air freshener:

  • Shake spray bottles vigorously before each use to remix any separated layers.
  • Test gel and solid fresheners in small inconspicuous areas first to check scent strength.
  • Start with smaller amounts of vinegar or essential oils if the smell is too strong. You can always add more.
  • Freshen hard-to-reach spots by placing bowls of vinegar around the room. The fumes will circulate.
  • For a quick room refresh, put some vinegar and essential oils in a spritz water bottle and mist around.
  • Replenish gel air fresheners once the liquid evaporates to maintain scent.
  • Make large batches of spray or solid fresheners so you always have some ready to use.

Troubleshooting Vinegar Air Fresheners

If your homemade vinegar air freshener isn’t working well, here are some tips to troubleshoot it:

Problem: The spray freshener has an overpowering vinegar smell.

Solution: Dilute the vinegar more with water to achieve a better balance. You can also use apple cider vinegar for a more pleasant aroma.

Problem: The scent from the gel air freshener doesn’t last long.

Solution: Try a recipe with more vinegar to increase potency. Or add more essential oils for a stronger initial fragrance.

Problem: The solid freshener isn’t releasing any scent.

Solution: Make sure to use heat-safe jars. You can place the closed jar in hot water to melt and release the ingredients again.

Problem: Condensation builds up inside the freshener container.

Solution: Leave the lids off containers so moisture can evaporate rather than getting trapped inside.

Problem: The spray causes sticky residues on surfaces.

Solution: Wipe down sprayed areas with a damp cloth shortly after use to prevent any stickiness.

Common Scents for Vinegar Air Fresheners

Vinegar works well paired with many types of scents. Here are some great essential oil options to try in your homemade air fresheners:

Citrus Scents – Orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime. Provide an energizing and uplifting aroma.

Floral Scents – Lavender, jasmine, rose, geranium. Light and pleasant floral notes.

Herb & Spice Scents – Peppermint, eucalyptus, cinnamon, clove. Often have cleansing properties.

Earthy Scents – Sandalwood, cedar, pine, lemongrass. Smell fresh and green.

Fruity Scents – Strawberry, melon, peach, banana. Fun for kids’ rooms or a tropical scent.

Clean Scents – Tea tree, bergamot, vanilla, lemon verbena. Crisp, soapy aromas.

Woodsy Scents – Fir, cypress, patchouli, pine. Warm, rich forest smells.

Where to Place Vinegar Air Fresheners

Vinegar air fresheners can be used all around your home:

  • Bathrooms – Place gel fresheners or a spray bottle on counters to eliminate odors. Add to toilet tanks or hang baggies with vinegar and essential oils from showerheads.
  • Kitchens – Fill small bowls with vinegar to absorb food smells. Keep spray nearby to use after cooking or disposing of garbage.
  • Bedrooms – Spritz spray fresheners lightly onto curtains or bedding for relaxing scents. Use cedar blocks with vinegar to repel moths.
  • Living Rooms – Display jar air fresheners to subtly scent the air as guests enter your home.
  • Offices – Set vinegary potpourri bags under your desk to counteract stuffy air.
  • Cars – Plug in a vinegar-based car air freshener or stash some scented cloths in the glovebox.

Vinegar air fresheners are safe even in enclosed spaces since they don’t contain toxic chemicals.

Additional Tips for Using Vinegar as an Air Freshener

Vinegar works great as an air freshener on its own in various forms:

  • Place bowls of vinegar around rooms to absorb unpleasant odors.
  • Soak cotton balls in vinegar and hide them behind furniture to discretely freshen air.
  • Heat vinegar in a pan with added spices to fill your home with cozy smells.
  • Dunk used tea bags in vinegar overnight then set out to dry – the vinegar smell combats stale odors.
  • Rinse fruit and vegetable peels in vinegar and leave in open bowls for a pleasant fruity aroma.
  • Add a cup of vinegar to laundry loads to leave clothes and linens smelling extra clean after washing.
  • Wipe surfaces down with a diluted vinegar solution to disinfect and deodorize in one step.

Vinegar is endlessly useful for removing bad scents and keeping air pure and fresh. Experiment with these ideas for homemade air freshening success!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do homemade vinegar air fresheners last?

The longevity depends on the type: sprays provide instant but temporary freshness, gels last a few weeks, while solids may continue working for several months if made properly. Maintaining the proper vinegar to water ratios is key for longevity.

Do vinegar air fresheners just mask odors or get rid of them?

Vinegar actually helps neutralize and eliminate bad odors rather than simply covering them up. The acids in vinegar break down the compounds responsible for smells, removing them from the air.

Is it safe to use vinegar around pets?

Yes, vinegar is non-toxic for pets. The strong smell may deter some pets at first, so start with lower concentrations and provide adequate ventilation when using vinegar air fresheners.

Can I add other ingredients besides essential oils to my vinegar air freshener?

Yes, ingredients like lemon peels, herbs, spices, vodka, and witch hazel can help enhance your homemade vinegar air fresheners. Avoid any ingredients that could spoil or mold quickly.

Why does my vinegar spray cause sticky build-up?

Hard water minerals in tap water can leave a sticky residue when evaporated. Use distilled water or wipe down surfaces after spraying to avoid potential stickiness. Adding a bit of vodka helps too.


Making your own air freshener with vinegar is an easy, safe, and effective way to eliminate unpleasant odors in your home. Vinegar absorbs and neutralizes smells rather than simply masking them. Customize your homemade air fresheners by adding different scented essential oils. Place air fresheners made with vinegar all around your home to keep the air fresh and clean. Experiment with different delivery methods like sprays, gels, solids, and more to find your favorites. With just a little time and a few basic ingredients, you can make homemade air fresheners that keep your living space smelling fresh with the power of vinegar.